Voters okay Regional Technical Academy

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(Host) Voters in northwestern Vermont have approved plans to move forward with a new Regional Technical Academy. There had been considerable debate over the idea, but both sides now say they need to work together to plan the new school.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) Tuesday night voters gave the go-ahead to establish a school district and a board that will plan the new Regional Technical Academy. It would be the largest technical center in the state. The center will serve 25 towns in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle Counties.

Some are worried that schools in smaller towns would be hurt by sending their students to the new facility. There were also concerns that projected enrollment figures were unrealistic. Chris Smith of the academy’s planning committee says now that voters have agreed to take the next step toward building the center, everyone needs to come together.

(Smith) “As we’ve all seen, it’s been very fractious in the community and despite the vote, there’s been a lot of people who have been strongly against this. And we need to get them to the table to discuss this and work out those differences so we can present a united front.”

(Zind) Winooski Representative George Cross was opposed the Regional Technical Academy. Cross agrees that opponents now have to get involved in planning the facility.

(Cross) “Those of us who have had our differing opinion about this need to be proactive and to work with the folks that have been doing this to make sure we put together the best program for the high school students.”

(Zind) Cross says he hopes the academy will be less centralized than current plans call for and that local high schools will continue to offer their own technical education programs. The newly established board will have to go back to voters for approval to build the new facility once plans are finalized.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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